Every once in a while, I actually use my bike to help with an errand. Yesterday was one such time as I dropped off my car at a mechanic and used my bike to travel 20 miles to my house. I dropped off the car after work and headed out into the evening rush hour and a 40 degree day.
Showing up at an auto repair shop with a carbon bike definitely attracts attention. Emerging from a bathroom in cycling gear will earn you a look or two as well. Strangers will start conversations with you about when they used to cycle, or marvel at the incredible distance (20 miles!) you are about to embark upon. With equal amounts of bemusement and fanfare, the clientele and workers sent me on my way.
The ride went well. The initial three miles were the trickiest and I was grateful to be doing it while the sun was still up. Traffic was heavy on Godwin Road with no shoulder. Riding with a backpack full of the day’s office clothes was an interesting sensation and I also realized my ability to look over my shoulder at traffic would be impeded. The forecasted rain mercifully failed to materialize.
In short order I was across the very busy Nokesville Road and into suburbia. I was surprised to see a bike lane at this point, which unexpectedly ended at the border between Manassas City and Prince William County. The lane really wasn’t necessary since traffic was very light. Four miles later, with the sun completely set, I linked up with the mixed-use path which parallels Rte 234, and made my way home without incident.
I was a little surprised not to see a single cyclist over my entire journey, despite it being rush hour. Small wonder why Washington DC was just announced as having the worst commute in the nation. It seems like the suburbs still have a way to go before we begin to embrace cycling as a commuting option.